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The Wild One (1954)

Cast: Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, more...
Director: Laslo Benedek, Laslo Benedek
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Cult, Drama
Running Time: 79 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

Synopsis
"What are you rebelling against?" asks someone. "What've you got?" responds surly, leather-jacketed motorcycle punk Marlon Brando. It comes as a disappointment to discover that The Wild One, the quintessential Brando "rebel" film, is at base a traditional "misunderstood youth vs. the nasty system" effort, with a particularly banal finale. Based on a true incident, the film begins with Brando and his motorcyle gang invading a small town after having been kicked out of a cycle competition (but not before stealing the second-prize trophy). Brando's bikers raise hell all day, but some of the townsfolk are shown to be little better than the invaders. Sheriff Robert Keith, whose daughter (Murphy) has gone fond of Brando, finally responds to the bikers' destructiveness by jailing Lee Marvin, leader of a rival gang. When Marvin's buddies goes on a rampage, Brando exhibits his essential decency by safely escorting the sheriff's daughter out of the melee. The townsfolk misunderstand, assuming that Brando intends to rape the girl. He is attacked by a vigilante mob led by town hothead Ray Teal, who uses this excuse to exercise his own sadistic tendencies. Keith breaks up the mob and suggests that Brando leave; he tries to do so, but another angry response from the mob causes him to inadvertently strike and kill a pedestrian. At the subsequent hearing, the girl rushes to Brando's defense. Though grateful for the unexpected kindness, Brando is constitutionally unable to say "thank you" and rides out of town alone. The image of Marlon Brando astride his Triumph has entered movie folklore, just like King Kong on the Empire State Building or the billow-skirted Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grating; it's too bad that The Wild One isn't a more worthy vehicle for Brando's talents. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

leather boys & the crazy chicks they attract by LStrauss December 21, 2004 - 11:52 AM PST
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2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This film exceeded my expectations by far. Not just your average 1950's teen-exploitation flick- it is much, much more. In "The Wild One" you get to see the style that influnced punks, rockers, mods, bikers, rock-a-billy and leather daddies to this day.
Funny enough, the bikers portrayed seem to be more jazzbo/ Kerouack kind of hipsters than surly bikers. The inability of the townpeople to control the "Black Rebels Motorcycle Club" or "The Beetles" seems funny to a modern viewer- cops would run them into jail pronto these days.




GreenCine Member Rating
12345678910

(Average 6.81)
84 Votes
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Moto Movies!!
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Motorcycles in the movies! Some of these films are all about bikes, some only have a scene or two, but are still cool.
seangrout
Marlon Brando RIP
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Brando was wildly uneven and difficult to work with right up until the end (Just ask Frank Oz, who directed him in THE SCORE and lived to regret it.) Still, his influence was (is) huge. (JULIUS CAESAR and BURN are also good and not available on DVD yet.)
ALittlefield

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